The Madison Way


For a great number of years, the following has been the way of the Madison, Wisc. police department. Leading the way were these two statements: one of vision, the other of mission.


We are a dynamic organization devoted to improvement, excellence, maintaining customer satisfaction, and operating on the principles of quality leadership. “Closer to the People; Quality from the Inside Out”

cop imageMISSION

We believe in the dignity and worth of all people.

We are committed to: providing high-quality, community-oriented police services with sensitivity, protecting constitutional rights, problem-solving, teamwork, openness, planning for the future, continuous improvement, and providing leadership to the police profession. 

We are proud of the diversity of our work force, which permits us to grow and which respects each of us as individuals, and we strive for a healthful workplace. 

Whenever the actions, practices, or direction of the department were questioned, the above two statements and the values they represent was used as a template indicate what the department stood for; “On This We Stand.” It also let us know when we were not acting according  to our values..

In describing the Madison Way, the following points are primary:

  • Hiring smart, educated police officers.
  • Seeking diversity in the ranks.
  • Using a unique leadership style called “Quality Leadership [see below].
  • Continuously improving all work systems — everything.
  • Softly handling public protest.
  • Assigning many officers to neighborhood-level, community-oriented responsibility and empowering them.
  • Conducting on-going surveys of recipients of police services (“customers”) to know how they were doing.
  • Pressing to be ever-closer to people served.
  • Asking and generously listening to the community and those within the ranks on an on-going basis.

The following video of the department today is a good example:

See more on Madison HERE.


[i] Principles of Quality Leadership

  1. Improve SYSTEMS and examine processes before blaming people
  2. Have a CUSTOMER orientation and focus toward employees and citizens.
  3. Believe that the best way to improve the quality of work or service is to ASK and LISTEN to employees who are doing the work.
  4. Be committed to the PROBLEM-SOLVING process; use it and let DATA, not emotions, drive decisions.
  5. Be a FACILITATOR and COACH. Develop an OPEN atmosphere that encourages providing and accepting FEEDBACK
  6. Encourage CREATIVITY through RISK-TAKING and be tolerant of honest MISTAKES.
  7. Avoid top-down, POWER-ORIENTED decision-making whenever possible.
  8. Manage on the BEHAVIOR of 95% of employees and not on the 5% who cause problems. Deal with the 5% PROMPTLY and FAIRLY.
  9. Believe in, foster and support TEAMWORK
  10. 10.With teamwork, develop with employees agreed-upon GOALS and a PLAN to achieve them.
  11. Seek employees INPUT before you make key decisions.
  12. Strive to develop mutual RESPECT and TRUST among employees; DRIVE OUT FEAR.




  1. I never knew their Youtube page existed. I enjoyed their video on burglary prevention tips because it explains something they are actually seeing in the area and gives advice on how to prevent it. That’s a great idea to let the community know you care and give them real solutions.


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